Exploring Interests and Skills that can be Used for Philanthropy

When you’re choosing an opportunity to give back to your community, your interests and skills are a valuable compass for helping you decide where to spend your time. In a city as diverse as ours, every interest or skill can be used for philanthropy. No matter what inspires you, we’re here to help you to feel inspired to share your strengths to help fellow New Yorkers.

Still undergoing studies? It’s the perfect time to carve time out to be active in the community. The benefits of civic action for students span from fulfilling credit hours to making vital connections that you can tap when you’re ready to get to work in your industry.  We’ll show you just a few organizations that offer opportunities to passionate and talented individuals in your industry. 

Human resources/Women’s empowerment: The ability to Dress for Success isn’t afforded to everyone–some people’s whole outlook changes with a touch of philanthropy. This non-profit organization helps women get on the path to financial freedom by encouraging (and dressing) them for interviews and the work world. Donating good-quality professional clothes is one way to lend a hand, but you can also explore opportunities to get involved. Helping out with events and daily resources for women, including skill development, resume help, and confidence boosts, is what awaits you at the non-profit.

Another organization with an aim to get women firmly planted in a career is Bottomless Closet. This organization offers workshops, attire, and resume help for women preparing for job interviews.

Environmentalism: Going green takes plenty of forms for today’s eco-conscious consumer. Whether you ride your bike to class, go vegan, or have a fierce commitment to recycling, Mother Earth could always use a hand to pick up the slack. Volunteering is the perfect way to show her love and get involved in making our city–and our planet–a better place. New York Restoration Project offers another way to get outdoors and help make NY more sustainable. Their peak volunteer months are May to October, during which you’ll help improve Manhattan’s northern parks. 

Have a green thumb? NYRP also has volunteer opportunities within their 52 community gardens beginning in April.


Fashion: If you have a passion for fashion, Shop Repurpose Wardrobe is the perfect place to partake in charitable work. Its mission is to resell preloved luxury items and donate 100% of the net proceeds to partner organizations that support the health and wellbeing of women and families.

Health/Medical: AIDS and Cancer walks have become a strong source of revenue for research. There are plenty of other people living with difficult conditions that would benefit from  humanitarianism.

Looking to make an impact for a specific community? Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a rare connective tissue disorder that results in skin that tears with any abrasion. Raising money, awareness, and assistance for those living with this disease is just as essential as any other disability. Students with all interest areas can lend their skills to support as a volunteer. Find out more on the debRA of America website. 

Education/teaching: Many students aren’t getting the support they need in the classroom or at home. If you have an interest in education or are on track to become a teacher, consider a volunteer tutor opportunity. Signing up for these volunteer opportunities benefit both you and your mentee’s educational goals. Reading Partners partners with AmeriCorps to bring children who need it most the resources to become better readers, writers, and students. This is a great opportunity for students to get some time working directly with children on a volunteer basis.

Mental health/psychology: Even before the stress of pandemic days, mental health struggles seem to be widely-spread and corrosive to people’s wellbeing. For those living through dark days, a phone call can literally be the difference between life and death. 

Want to put your kind heart and crisis management skills to good use? Consider signing up to volunteer for a suicide hotline. There are several in New York, each with liberal and flexible time commitments required. This makes a great good doer opportunity for students in school. Here are some examples of organizations looking for mental health helpline responders: 

Samaritans of New York


The Trevor Project

Nothing here fits your interests?

New York City is the home of 8 million people, each with their own lifestyle, passion, and history. Chase your passions through philanthropy and you’re on your way to finding your tribe. North Node can help you navigate the wide world of New York charitable opportunities and find the one that feels best for you. 

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